UK funds research into friendly GPS for elderly

UK researchers are working on making motoring less stressful for older drivers with the aid of friendlier GPS navigation.

We're all aware of that corner of the market filled with products targeted at elderly users: mobile phones with limited functionality, designed not to confuse; remote controls with huge buttons that are easy to read; and landline phones, like the FotoDialer. Could the next product in this niche be a GPS navigation system for your grandma? A £12 million grant from the UK government is pushing in that direction, as first reported by The Sun.

Newcastle University professor Phil Blythe, who is heading up the team researching the project, cites waning eyesight, nervousness and decreased confidence as issues for older drivers. The navigation technology currently being researched with the aid of driving simulators hopes to help with these problems, by favouring multiple left-hand turns over a single right to reduce crossing on-coming traffic.

The system will also favour landmarks over street names for spoken directions — for example, "Turn left at the post office" — and avoid highways and high-traffic areas to reduce driving stress.

The interface will be tweaked so they're easier to see and use by older drivers. I'm assuming that means big, bright buttons and fewer on-screen options at any given time.


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